Fracking activist permanently barred from Cabot gas sites
Anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins will be permanently barred from sites operated by Cabot Oil and Gas, according to a recent court order.
Scroggins is already facing a $1,000 fine and possible jail time for getting too close to a Cabot site in January. Since 2013, she has been subject to a temporary injunction, requiring her to stay away from the company’s gas sites. This new court order means the restrictions will be permanent. It requires her to stay off Cabot sites and adhere to 25 to 100 foot buffer zones. She intends to challenge the order.
“They have invaded our county,” Scroggins says of Cabot. “Why should I let them tell me where to park, where to walk, and where to stand?”
Scroggins initially agreed to the restrictions last fall, but she later changed her mind and refused to sign the final document. She objects to the fact that the buffer zones extend out onto public roads and other people’s private property.
Cabot successfully argued her signature on the deal didn’t matter. The judge sided with the company and found that she had authorized her attorneys to agree to it on her behalf.
The Houston, Texas-based company is the largest driller in Susquehanna County. It has aggressively pursued legal action against Scroggins, a 64-year-old retiree and self-described “gas tour guide.” Cabot says she has routinely trespassed on its property and poses a safety risk. Scroggins often brings journalists, politicians, and onlookers to drilling sites. She videotapes her encounters and documents the company’s environmental violations.
Despite hours of court testimony, Cabot has never demonstrated her causing harm to its operations. Scroggins’ attorney Jerry Kinchy says he finds the company’s zeal a bit bizarre.
“This can’t be good for Cabot’s image,” he says. “They send four or five lawyers on a private jet from Pittsburgh to Montrose for every hearing. If I were an investor in Cabot, I wouldn’t want my money used for this kind of litigation.”
A Cabot spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.